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Lynn Donoghue: William Kimber with Mme. Moitessier 1980
William Kimber with Mme. Moitessier 1980
The Toronto painter Lynn Donoghue dedicated her practice to portraiture using an unconventional painting process. She talked with her subjects during their multiple sittings, rarely relying on photographs or preliminary sketches. Her portraits are correspondingly lively and unconventional.
Going against the prevailing current, Donoghue remarked in the 1970s, I want to paint people...I always wanted to paint the figure...The notion is that to be a good, serious artist you must work in the abstract. Why am I doing figures: Why am I not doing bananas? ...I paint people to get something. What I get I’m not sure. (Lynn Donoghue, Toronto Life, 1979)
In this painting, Donoghue juxtaposes a portrait of her friend, William Kimber, with that of Mme. Moitessier, who was painted by the French painter Ingres in 1856. Kimber’s hand gesture mimics that of the historical figure, while ...the figure of Mme. Moitessier clearly enhances the image of William Kimber, without intruding on his contemporary space and time. True to the principles of the ‘grand manner’, his portrait is embellished, and to a certain extent idealized, by her presence. (Mary E. MacLachlan, The Cult of Personality: Portraits by Lynn Donoghue exhibition catalogue essay, MSVU Art Gallery, 1984).
Donoghue lived in Toronto, Bath (England), and New York City. She began exhibiting in 1973. Her early exhibited work became a source of controversy when some galleries refused to exhibit the artist’s large portraits of nude males. Donoghue’s paintings can be found in various Canadian public, corporate and private collections.